The awesome tracer gun of our Gen X youth

Originally published at: The awesome tracer gun of our Gen X youth | Boing Boing

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I am way older than Gen Z, but bought these in the grocery stores in bulk when I found them. My house was filled with them, and we even found a bulk ammo seller once, and the whole house was filled with discs. The cat loved them.

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Back when they were “Star Trek Tracer Guns” there was a rifle too. The bunch of us would have tracer gun wars in a friend’s house. Team 1 - upstairs, Team 2 - basement, goal - take the first floor.

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These were the drug store toy of choice when I was a kid.

I think I found a few of those discs (I only remember them in red) when I moved stuff to move out of my parents’ house for college.

Also, I remember that the giant flaw was, well discs… Those things really started to arc sideways after maybe 5 or so feet.

Also, if you had one of these guns, you may have had one of these:

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Now, I am young again.

Mission accomplished…

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Note the proximity to the hard object you don’t want to hit at speed. Ah the 70s.

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I do remember that my neighbors had this type of disc guns in the 80’s.

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Another drug store toy perfect to pair with for target practice:
image

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I remember only a few things about ours:

  1. Spinning until I was so dizzy that I would fall off.
  2. it sitting unused for long stretches of time unless my sibling or I decided to use it, then it was the center of the universe, and worth fighting over.
  3. the only cooperative game was one where you had to spin then negotiate an obstacle course made of chairs and couch cushions (which usually resulted in hilarious inability to actually do it, and minor injuries).
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My memory was figuring out that pennies were a perfect substitute for the standard disks. I’m pretty sure that’s why they got taken off the market. Much more accurate over distance, left a bruise on your friends.

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Had two of them. A gold one and a blue one. The gold tracer gun was inherited and was probably as old as I was, the blue was an early 70’s vintage and was not nearly as accurate or reliable as the gold. That was my first introduction to the heartbreak of “value engineering”. But to be honest, I’d be very very happy if I still had either of them :slight_smile:

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Not something you’re going to leave on your coffee table, but I work for the company that did the engineering for this sweet disc flinger:

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I remember these as Star Trek phasers:

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The rumor when I was a kid was if you filled your pockets with the color discs and moms tossed it in the washer they would turn white.

I never had that gun, but some friends did. I had more generic cap guns and water pistols, and dart guns. Oh to be a kid when Nerf guns were born.

I had a friend who had the Zebra gun, which shot little yellow BBs.

It was modeled after the space-aged Whitney Wolverine .22

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You aren’t imagining things, you could buy 100 or so discs that came in a sort of cardboard blister pack.

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Unlike the tracer gun, that has a fairly unexotic modern version. Airsoft pistols are quite similar and shoot a similar plastic bb.

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Same here, except I think that “newer” (still 1980s) ones were built with a less powerful spring as the pennies didn’t have nearly the distance as the plastic discs.

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Wow, someone else remembers the Trek-branded version of this! One of my aunts bought me one of these in 1969. I didn’t even bother to question what it had to do with the show.

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